Your birthday is today so I thought I’d write you a letter. I want to tell you that I know you were as much a victim as any of the rest of us with F. I know you did your best to take care of me and D and I know how F undermined and gaslighted you to make that impossible. I understand this personally because he did the same thing to keep me away from my own children, your beautiful grandsons.
I want you to know that I wish we could be in communication but that it’s just too hard for me. I don’t hate you, I don’t dislike you. Really, I don’t even know you. But I do know that some of the things you say are still confusing to me. This is my problem; I own it. My issues make things unfair for you but unfortunately it’s how it is. After your handful of letters a couple years ago, I realized that I still don’t know how to trust what you tell me and that there are still many questions I have for you that I can’t trust you to answer accurately. This has a lot to do with your mental illness; it’s not a blanket statement saying that I can’t trust you.
You moved too quickly when you sent those letters. All too quickly you were telling me how much you love me, that you missed me every day we were apart (which I don’t doubt, but it feels overwhelming), signing your letters with “Love, Mom.” You have to remember that we haven’t seen each other in person since 1984 and hadn’t had been in contact since 1985, and that before that we hadn’t seen each other all that much. And when I was with you, it was common for me to be in peril because of your boyfriends and/or your sister and her husband and/or even you. Please understand that you’re not my mom. You’re the woman who gave birth to me and who unfortunately wasn’t able to raise me. You’re my mother. It was too much for you to suddenly call yourself my mom. Even I don’t really feel like a mom to my boys because I wasn’t able to help raise them. A lot of the time I feel only like the woman who gave birth to them and who wasn’t allowed to raise them the way a mom, a mama, should.
I want you to know that I do think about you and care about you. I want you to be happy, to have a good life. We have so much in common because of F! I wish we could talk about it but I also know I wouldn’t be able to rely on your comments and your answers to my questions. And that is why I can’t send this letter. I never want to get your hopes up that we could have a relationship; that’s not fair to you. That’s F’s fault. He has taken a lot away from you, from me, from many people. He’s made it impossible for us to have a relationship. He stole your babies away from you and my babies away from me. But we each have our own issues that add to all that chaos, issues that make it impossible for us to have a relationship.
I don’t hate you. I have respect for you for moving on with your life in the best ways that you could. I have respect for you for not killing yourself when that would have been an easy answer to the pain I know you endure. I respect you for respecting me when I told you it won’t work for us to keep writing. You took a big chance getting in contact with me and I know how difficult it must be to not just keep sending an occasional letter to see how I am and if I’m ready to talk. Thank you for respecting my needs.
I hope you have a lovely birthday. You deserve that so much! You mentioned friends from church in your letters; I hope these ladies make your birthday something special for you. I hope your day is beautiful and peaceful. I hope the weather is wonderful and your pets are especially lovable. I hope you have a lovely birthday.
Happy birthday, P. Happy birthday to the brave woman who gave birth to me but did not get to raise me. You’re in my heart. Always.